Moving people, parcels and parts around military bases via tactical vehicles is an inefficient use of resources. To remedy this problem, the U.S. Army’s National Automotive Center commissioned a simple light-duty modular vehicle to handle these chores, while reducing fuel use and pollution. The result is the Hyrider, a light duty vehicle built by California Motors and Quantum Technologies atop a modular spaceframe chassis with a central backbone section. Prototypes use fiberglass body panels, but—depending on the application and volume—the exterior panels can be stamped from steel or aluminum, or made from molded plastic. Common to all Hyriders are the twin steel tubes draped over the hood and tailgate that act as their hinge. This gives easy access, eases removal of the panels for servicing or hauling long cargo, and makes it easy to break the vehicle down for shipping.
Each corner has long-travel independent suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil-over shocks, making it possible to take the Hyrider over rough terrain. Military units are designed for non-tactical applications and top speeds above 35 mph, while civilian-use variants—for use in gated communities, at resorts, or as city vehicles—are limited to no more than 25 mph. The military units can be tailored for on-base duties such as pickup and delivery of personnel, fire fighting, mail, and maintenance that are currently performed by tactical vehicles like Humvees.
"This frees those vehicles up for their intended duties,” says California Motors president Mike Kasaba, “and should reduce both fuel use and pollution levels at military bases.” An off-the-shelf 18-hp diesel engine and a pair of GE forklift drive motors make up the all-wheel-drive powertrain. A front-drive version is planned. The military also is interested in a version powered by a removable 5kW fuel cell designed for future military auxiliary power units.—CAS